Trucks & SUVs

Is the Jeep Gladiator a Good Family Truck?

Fans of the Wrangler were delighted to hear Jeep was coming out with a truck version called the Gladiator. Many drivers had high hopes for the vehicle. Now that it’s officially hit dealerships, we can hear directly from consumers.

One of the biggest questions Jeep never addressed is how the Jeep Gladiator performs as a family vehicle. The press mentions the fact that Gladiator is geared for off-roaders, but many people who go off-roading do so with family or friends. Thankfully, the Jeep Gladiator forum has lots of information on this very issue.

The pros of the Jeep Gladiator

Many reviewers thought it would be possible to have a family of four plus a golden retriever in the car. Everyone didn’t agree on this, but several reviewers use the Jeep Gladiator as their family vehicle and find it doable. 

One point made is that the Jeep Gladiator is intended to be a five-passenger vehicle. This doesn’t mean your passengers will have tons of legroom or that they’ll be very comfortable, but it’s a manageable space.

Another point: The Gladiator is perfect for driving in inclement weather. For anyone who lives in areas with blizzards and still has to get to work, the Gladiator could be a lifesaver.

Let’s not forget the Gladiator has great towing capacities. Jeep reports that it has “Best-in-Class available 7,650-pound towing capacity, a Best-in-Class available 1,700-pound payload, and multiple ways to help keep it all secure.” This means you could hitch a camper for family getaways.

Other perks may tempt families to check out a Gladiator, too. Car and Driver reports, “Front-seat passengers will be privy to several power points, which include two USBs and a USB-C port; a 115-volt outlet is also available.” For families that rely on technology, this could be a major selling point. 

If this isn’t tempting enough, the Jeep Gladiator includes several storage options. Car and Driver explains, “Its cabin has a handful of spots to stick a smartphone and a handy compartment hidden under the back seat.” This can come in handy for emergency supplies as well as toys.

The cons of the Jeep Gladiator

One of the biggest cons of the forum revolves around car seats. If you have small children who haven’t outgrown a car seat yet, you won’t be able to fit three people in the back. 

Another major complaint is that, unlike many trucks, the front seat is a bucket seat. If it were a bench, you could slide someone in the middle, but as it now stands, you can only fit two people in the front. There was no mention of how adults felt riding in the back.

Jeep Gladiator accessories

If you want a Jeep Gladiator but fear it may not be a great family vehicle, there may be hope — if you can splurge on a few accessories. Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Gladiator market is blossoming with accessories that will make life easier for off-roaders. One of these is an Overland Bed Camper. It fits over the back of the Gladiator truck bed, and you can even sleep in it. 

If you’re interested in the Offland Bed Camper, The Drive reports, “Weighing a meager 350 pounds with enough strength to hold all your overlanding gear, this purpose-built unit starts at $9,100.” 

Another reviewer commented that you could tow a camper along with you. This may or may not work for small families. Towing a camper to the mountains for an epic weekend getaway and towing a camper to the local supermarket to pick up milk and bread are different things. 

The Jeep Gladiator’s future

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is technically the first in its lineup, so future models may offer more features, like bench seats, larger beds, and more spacious interior cabins. This is just a guess, however. What we do know is that a diesel engine is on the way, as well as a new Gladiator called the Gladiator Hercules.

In the meantime, if you’re still on the fence, the easiest way to find out is to visit your local Jeep dealership and test-drive the Gladiator for yourself.